New computer – my programs part 2

Now for the next five.

1. Unless you really do love living dangerously and it won’t matter if you should lose evrything if your compute goes down, or your hard drive fails, then YOU MUST RUN A DAILY BACKUP!!! Trust me on this. I’ve been working with computers for over 22 years and even with a proper backup system, restoring a broken computer is a pain. I use Handy Backup. Here’s a link to a free trial – I also backup onto an external hard drive, and really important stuff I backup onto a USB flash drive as well. Sometime I’ll write about my backup strategy using this utility.

2. Zip/Unzipping program. Most people rave about Winzip, but I use a free program called 7-zip. Just as good, if not better and it doesn’t test your conscience! Pop along to to download your copy.

3. Browser. I used to use a program called Crazybrowser which sat on top of Internet Explorer. I liked it because it had tabbed windows and the ability to auto-insert the or .com etc in web addresses. In those days a tabbed browser was almost unheard of. Things change and I’m currently using Internet Explorer 7 Pro which was released in May 2008. Just seems to work a bit better that the standard IE.  Go to the website. (But I am also evaluating Firefox.)

4. To help me with my website and digital delivery I use Page Breeze HTML Editor. It means I can quickly adapt the html pages on the CDs I send out. It’s free for non-commercial and educational use – check it out at

5. Finally for today, my CD/DVD burning program is by Ashampoo – I had a lot of problems with Windows’ Media Player and tried some other programs as well. Ashampoo Burning Studio 8 works well and also lets me keep long filenames. Does quite a lot more too. Here’s a link to the Ashampoo home page.

Until next time


PS How to autoinsert the www & ending to a web address. Firstly, from my experience, you don’t need to put in www. at the front. Secondly, in IE go to tools-internet options-languages and at the bottom you will see suffix. Just add whatever you want – eg or etc. Crazybrowser let me add several, IE only has one, but if you are going to a .com address, CTRL-enter will add that for you – so you really have two.

New computer – my programs part 1

Although I have moaned a bit about my laptop not working, here’s some good news. The parts for my replacement desktop arrived today and are already installed. It’s running like a dream! My son and I use a company called overclockers for most of our hardware; we can certainly recommend them. (It’s a UK company – and I won’t receive commission should you decide to buy from them.)

As there’s still quite a bit of setting up to be done before I transfer completely to the desktop, I thought perhaps my dear readers would like to know which programs I use.

So, to start, here are the first five of my main programs in order of importance. (nb even in UK English the word program is spelt the ‘american’ way if it refers to computer software).

1. Operating system – Vista. I never did use XP so came to it directly from Win2000. I think Vista is an excellent program. Whilst I’d like the Ultimate version, I have other progs to do most of what that offers, so can save my money and make do with Home Basic.

2. Anti-virus. I used to use the free AVG, but I was never really 100% happy with it. I have now bought Eset Security Suite and I think it is more efficient and takes fewer resources than AVG. They offer a 30 day trial ATM (although I think I had 90 days).

3. Roboform. I couldn’t live without Roboform. It’s a little program with a big heart! It stores all of my login details (I have several hundred) and I even have a version which goes onto a USB stick should I need to work on another PC.  The thing we all know about passwords is that we shouldn’t use the same one everywhere, nor should we write them down. Makes ’em very difficult to remember. Robo does it all for me – and it has a Master password which means if I should lose the stick, no-one else can get to the data. Click here to go to the website – the trial version lets you save 15 logins.

4. Eudora email. My absolutely favourite email program. used it for years now. Knocks the spots off Outlook (main and Express), and in fact any other program I’ve examined. No longer sold, but still available as a free download from the Eudora site – click here. I keep meaning to have a go at the open source beta version – perhaps I’ll put that on my new pc.

5. MS Office Professional 2007. Yes, I’ve paid for this too – but I got a really good deal. It includes Access as I needed to evaluate it for my day job. The ribbon takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s growing on me. It can be expensive though. I don’t like Open Office, but another alternative is the Office Suite offered by Ashampoo. I have some more of their products as well. Their office suite can even be put on a USB stick and run on another computer without being installed. I just might try it. Ashampoo also have 30 day trials which are really good for assessing whether the program will do what you need it for. Click here to go to their website.

Well. that’s all for today. I’ll carry on the list next time.

— Lynda


You recall that in my last post I mentioned the problems with my laptop. No icons on lots of sites (important ones like this one!) and Flash not working. It got worse.

My laptop wouldn’t boot up at all the other afternoon and only after 3 tries did it decide to give in to my pleading. (My SO moans at me for continually talking to inanimate objects – in particular my SatNav’s Tim who insisted on directing me one way when I knew I wanted to go another!)

So, going back to basics (with my pc) I disconnected everything – docking station, Win-TV, printer, 2nd monitor. It booted really quickly. After it had settled down I plugged everything back in and it behaved itself. But I still didn’t have those icons!

On the PlanetSMS forum someone said that they’d tweaked something or other on my hosting site which wasn’t right. But that’s about all that happened (that I know of). I had also uninstalled the non-working Adobe Flash and restarted the computer and reinstalled without testing it again before I shut down.

Yesterday lunchtime, the usual boot up. Went to the first site where I’d had problems (UK Lottery) – it worked! Picking myself up off the floor, I came here to WordPress – I have icons!! Going to my advantageebooks control panel – doesn’t it just look so pretty!!! Yes, everything is as it should be.

Now, I know darn well that I didn’t do anything here at home to fix whatever. That if my web hosts did something to fix my website, it wouldn’t have affected something like WordPress or the Flash problem. I can only conclude that my lappy needed a 12 hour rest.

Or, could it be that I had just purchased the bits and pieces to build a new desktop (we don’t buy ready-made desktops in our family) to replace it that made it realise if it didn’t get its act together it was going to the knackers yard?

Until next time.